Google Analytics 4 Features and Benefits

[This is the second post in our series about transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4. The first post in the series discussed Google’s plan to sunset UA in 2023.]

As the 2023 sunset of Google’s Universal Analytics nears, many organizations are making the transition to Google Analytics 4 and starting to learn more about this powerful next-generation platform. Users will notice some big changes in GA4, including advanced features, and several ways that it is fundamentally different from UA.

Google Analytics 4, which launched in December 2020 as a large iterative shift to change the foundation of an aging data structure now offers access to predictive insights, additional reporting dimensions, and deeper integration with Google Ads. By not relying exclusively on cookies, and using an event-based data model, GA4 operates across multiple platforms, and provides greater privacy protection, which is increasingly important to web users.

“It helps businesses meet evolving needs and user expectations, with more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage. Importantly, Google Analytics 4 will also no longer store IP addresses. These solutions and controls are especially necessary in today’s international data privacy landscape, where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their data.” (Russell Ketchum, Prepare for the future with Google Analytics 4)

Overview of Google Analytics 4 Features and Benefits

  • Data streams allow seamless integration between multiple, different data sources, including mobile apps
  • Commonly required tracking elements are enabled via configuration, and set in GA’s interface itself without required code deployment or development as with UA
  • GA4 reporting is more configurable with its event-based model
  • Data retrieval is significantly faster
  • Availability of additional custom dimensions and metrics (50 in GA4 vs. 20 in UA)
  • Improved data visualization capabilities
  • Predictive analysis audience creation tools with e-commerce purchase event metrics
  • Simplified cross-domain configuration
  • Stronger emphasis on user-focused tracking and reporting (versus the session-based UA model) 
  • Much more expansive set of events with parameters
  • Insights across touchpoints provide a complete view of the customer lifecycle with a measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform
  • Data-driven attribution assigns credit to more than just the last click, helping you understand how different marketing activities collectively influence conversions

Check out our blog series, “GA4 in 400 Words” for a much deeper dive into GA4 features and usage. Google is expected to roll out additional features, the first of which could include enhancements to machine learning, AI analysis, and predictive analysis.

Benefits of Implementing Google Analytics 4 Now

  • Competitive advantage. GA4 has become the industry standard by requirement from Google. Getting started with GA4 before others in your market means you’ll leverage the advanced functionality and insights earlier to benefit the performance of your marketing initiatives.
  • More Available Historical Data. When the team is ready to transition there will be data to leverage. As discussed in our previous post, after UA sunsets in 2023, your historical analytics data will only be fully accessible for a limited time.
  • A Head Start on User Proficiency. As previously noted, there are many differences between GA4 and UA, and the learning curve might be steep for some users. Training your team in GA4 prior to full adoption provides a usage buffer, preventing out-of-the-gate analysis challenges. 
  • Use GA4 and UA Until its Sunset: Concurrent tracking for a basic GA4 deployment is low effort with low page impact but provides the high value of building deeper available historical data when UA stops processing in 2023.

Contact us for more information about the many benefits of GA4 and its next-generation features. We also know the best way to implement GA4 and train your team to get the most out of it by driving new revenue with enhanced tracking, deeper customer segmentation, and optimized marketing insights. Make your transition to GA4 stress-free, seamless, and optimized to support your organization’s future success.

[The next post in this series will discuss critical steps in the GA4 implementation process.]